Showing posts with label Pinterest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pinterest. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wise Words of Buddha

Today is my last first day of graduate school. I've dreamed of this moment for the five years...maybe longer.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the past five years. All that I've lost. And all that I've gained. Life has not been easy. But whose life is?

I spend a lot of time worrying thinking about the what ifs of the future. What will happen when I am finally done with school? Will it have been worth it?

I cannot change the past. There's a part of me that doesn't really want to either. As for the future? No amount of dreaming could provide certainty.

And all the time I've spent dwelling in the past or dreaming of the future - I forgot about where I actually am. The present. 

This is the present.

And I'm not spending enough time in it. I'm not concentrating enough on it. I've realized some of the best moments of my life have slipped by unnoticed because I didn't concentrate enough in the present.

Today is the last day of my first day of graduate school. Today is going to be a good day. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Faith Is...

Today is Martin Luther King Day and the 2nd inauguration of our President. It's a day of inspiration, hope and faith. It's a day to reflect and to look ahead.

I'm not a religious person. But that's not to say I do not have faith. There have been times in these last few years, I've had to rely on faith alone. It's the thing that's kept me going - especially in my darkest moments

Yesterday The Boy turned seven. Birthdays are always bittersweet.  While we celebrate another year, it's also a reminder. And with every year, the gap between typical and atypical grows wider. 

Every year, it's a little harder to see the whole staircase.

And I have to remember how far The Boy's come. I think of the milestones that keep me going on the days when I think I can't take another step.

I think of that Spring day almost five years ago when I first heard the words: your son has autism. At the time The Boy had no language, he couldn't point or clap or give me kiss. The staircase was impossible to see.

And then slowly, The Boy started to make progress and it became easier to take steps - even though I still couldn't see the whole staircase. I had faith.

I continue to have faith.

I don't know what the future holds for The Boy. I don't know even what the future holds for me. But I do know that The Boy will make progress. That while the gap between typical and atypical may not fully close, The Boy will continue to flourish. His language will continue to develop. He will become independent enough to manage his day to day needs. He will continue to teach me, surprise me and inspire me.

I don't need to see the whole staircase to know that. I don't even need to see a single step. I will continue to walk with The Boy hand in hand up the (at times, invisible) staircase until he is ready to take his first steps on his own. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Simple Act of Kindness Can Go a Long Way #26ActsOfKindness

I remember after September 11th how fragile New Yorkers were. When I returned to work, strangers said "good morning" and held the elevator door open.  

It's been more than a week since the Sandy Hook tragedy. And we are once again a nation in mourning. Our hearts heavy, are eyes watery and our minds still in disbelief. And in these times of unimaginable sorrow, we are reminded how precious life is and of how much we take for granted. 

Tis the season of goodwill toward men (women and children). And to honor the 26 lives lost, people everywhere are participating in random acts of kindness.

I try to be a kind person. I try to be considerate of others. I give up my seat on the train for pregnant women, parents holding babies and the elderly or disabled. I hold doors open for strangers. I say bless you when a stranger next to me sneezes, offer them a tissue if I have one. I smile and say 'good morning' to people I don't even know - because even a smile can make a difference in someone's day. I let people go ahead of me at the checkout line.

It's days before Christmas. And I haven't purchased a single gift for anyone other than The Boy. There just hasn't been any time to do so. And it's hard for me to buy gifts for those that mean the most because my gratitude is so great, it surpasses my limited budget.

I remember my mother saying to me once. "It doesn't matter what I give at Christmas, I give all year long." As a child I didn't understand what that meant. Now I do. My mother is the kind of person who gives all year round. She gives her time so generously and expects absolutely nothing in return. She gives of herself quietly, wanting no recognition, praise or even gratitude.I admire her most for that.

My mother never wants a gift for anything. But the other day, I called her up and thanked her. I really thanked for all of the help she has given me over the last few years. I told her much I appreciated everything she does for me. And I told her how grateful I was for everything. I think my words of appreciation were better than any gift.

But I also greatly appreciate the kindness of strangers. Having a son with autism - it's come to be something I have had to depend on. Random acts of kindness mean so much to me. And I try to pay it forward whenever I can.

I love the idea of Random Acts of Kindness. But the idea of posting about my acts of kindness and what I'm doing seems artificial for me. It's like how I feel about charity. When I give to something, I don't want to be recognized for it. I do it because I want to, not for any accolades.

I want to go into 2013 being a kinder person. But I don't need to talk about my kind acts, I just want to do them.  

I hope you do too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Latina Bloggers React: We Need More Hispanic Authors and Books. Our Stories Matter.

In response to the New York Times article about the lack of Latino authors and books for childrenLatina bloggers have launched the "Latinas for Latino Literature" campaign which works to identify the problems in today's publishing world that contribute to this lack of diversity.  In a series of posts we will not only share our personal experiences within the publishing industry, but provide ideas for changing the situation to benefit Latino readers and writers, as well as the industry itself as they tap into this growing demographic. To help the publishing houses and readers, we're providing our top picks of Latino/a writers - and we're not done. Look out for forthcoming Google hangouts, Twitter parties, and follow-up posts as this coordinated effort continues, working towards providing quality books for an emerging group of readers.

Reading the NYT's article made me think about so many things: my childhood, my own writing and the limited selections at bookstores. So a few of us Latina bloggers decided to make our voices heard. As writers, mothers and lovers of all literature we want publishers, marketers and booksellers to know that Latinos read, write and buy books. We want them to know that OUR STORIES MATTER

I grew up in a home filled with books. Not because my parents were big on reading but because my father worked in a book factory. We had every children's book imaginable. And while we didn't have a lot of money, seeing books on our shelves made me feel very rich. 

Growing up my favorite writers were Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. I read book series like Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and the Baby Sitter's Club. I read all the time. Out of enjoyment, boredom, loneliness. I was that nerd girl whose nose was always in a book. I grew up reading about people I could not identify with and neighborhoods that didn't look anything like mine. 

I didn't realize I was missing something. And even though I grew up in a home filled with books not a single one was written by or about a Latino. I simply took for granted they did not exist. I assumed our lives were not worth reading or writing about. 

I will never forget the first time I read a book written by a Latino author. I was twenty years old. It was Esmeralda Santiago's When I was Puerto Rican and I read it in less than two days. It was empowering. I knew I needed to seek out other Latino authors (I say seek out because this was the age before Google). Esmeralda Santiago made me realize that our stories matter. And she inspired me to start writing.

At the time I discovered Esmeralda Santiago and Latino Literature, I was a failing college student. I didn't believe I was good at anything. I was working two jobs and I hated them both. And I didn't feel positive about my future. The next semester I  took an intro course in creative writing. I wrote my first short story and handed it in thinking it wasn't any good. On the day the professor returned our stories, I walked in twenty minutes late and as soon as I stepped in - the class started clapping. (For me!) The professor had been praising my work and called it the best submission she received. It was the first time any teacher had ever told me I was the best at anything. That was my academic turning point.    

Latino Literature opened a door for me that I didn't know existed.   

Now as a graduate student pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, I've met professors and editors who have told me that it will be more difficult for me to become a published writer simply because I'm Latina. While it's discouraging, I know I will not give up until my name is in print. I believe in my writing. And I know my words matter.    

When I was pregnant with The Boy, I knew I wanted him to love literature. I knew I wanted his children's books to be a reflection of our culture. I want my son to grow up knowing Latino writers exist and that our stories matter.   

But it is so disappointing to walk into a bookstore and not have a selection of books (children's or adult) written by Latino authors to choose from. I don't live in a small town. I live in New York City. And one shelf in a major New York City bookstore is not enough. In all honesty, it's not enough regardless of where you live.

When I think about all the kids in my life who think reading is boring - I know it's because they haven't read a book that spoke to them. I know the right book could make them realize that reading is exciting and that learning through literature can be fun. All it takes is one good book to change a life forever. I know because a book changed mine. 

What Latin@ author and/or "mainstream" author most influenced you and why?

What YOU can do to help?

  • BUY - not borrow - books written by Latin@ authors. Money talks.
  • If you enjoy a book written by a Latin@ author - post a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.     
What I Would Have Loved To Read Growing Up:

What I Read To My Son

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What The NYC Public School Special Education System Really Needs

Pardon the shameful social media self promotion. 
I'm on Pinterest.  Look for me - LaliQuin (same as my twitter name) Add me.  Repin me.  
And if you're not on Pinterest yet?  Why not?  Go ahead, sign up...yeah, it's a wee bit confusing (at least it is for me)  But let's figure it out together.  Because you've got to be in it to PIN IT.